3 Most Common Refrigerator Problems & How To Fix Them

How to Fix Some Common Refrigerator Problems
Mr. Fixit Himself folks! Thanks to Kevin Cole.

Mr. Fixit Himself folks!
Thanks to Kevin Cole.

When you stop to think about it, your home refrigerator is the most important appliance in your home — more important even than your dishwasher, toaster, PC, TV or video game player. So when it breaks down, you need to fix it — pronto. You can always call an expensive appliance repair service and wait for the technician to show up while your ice cream melts and your milk curdles. Or you can fix it yourself — with the help of the following tips.
First of all, before you make any repairs, always unplug the refrigerator. Also, be careful not to damage the floor when you pull out the fridge. Try laying down a cardboard runway. For tools, you will need a 4-in-1 screwdriver, adjustable wrench, level, nut driver, vacuum, long brush, and hair dryer.

1. Let’s say your icemaker stops working or makes very small cubes.

That’s usually due to a blockage in the water supply. There are three places to look.

  • First, remove the icemaker by unscrewing it and unplugging the wiring harness. Then check the “water inlet tube” for ice. Melt the ice in the tube with a hair dryer until water stops dripping.


  • Next check the “saddle valve,” which connects the household water supply to the ice maker — either under your kitchen sink or underneath the refrigerator in an unfinished basement. You may need to unclog the needle hole in the valve.


  • Finally, you may have to replace a defective electric water “inlet valve,” which controls the flow of water to the ice maker. It’s located at the back of the refrigerator. You can order it online or look for it at a retail store. First make sure water is flowing to it; if so, the valve is probably broken.

2. Maybe you have a leaky refrigerator. 

  • It may be due to a leak in the icemaker or water dispenser, perhaps at the inlet valve, which could require tightening. You may need to replace a leaking tube connecting the saddle valve and inlet valve.


  • Or you may have to level the refrigerator so that the drain pan underneath doesn’t spill out water.  Finally, the drain tube behind the freezer might need to be be unclogged. You can use a hair dryer to melt any ice buildup.
3. Maybe the refrigerator stops working altogether and

won’t keep your food sufficiently cool or frozen.

Gross!  How can it work when it looks like this?!  Thanks to Mark Florence

Gross! How can it work when it looks like this?!
Thanks to Mark Florence.

  • First makes sure the light comes on when you open the refrigerator door; if it doesn’t, see if the fridge is plugged in and check the breaker panel.


  • Next, you may need to adjust the temperature control dial, which may have been turned down. And make sure the vents in the fridge and freezer aren’t blocked by food containers.


  • Or you may need to clean or clear the condenser coils. On most older refrigerators, the coils are on the back; newer refrigerators have them underneath. For this job, you can buy a long brushes at appliance stores. Finally, you may need to free up the condenser fan. Refrigerators with coils underneath have a condenser fan that can be slowed up by dust buildup.

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